The Premier League continued its season-long trend of unpredictability throughout the middle of the week with a handful of surprising results.
Arsenal and Liverpool both kept their early success rolling with decisive victories. The Gunners cruised to a 2-0 win at home over Hull City with an early goal from Nicklas Bendtner followed up by a second two minutes into the second half by Mesut Ozil, who continues to impress. Liverpool exploded for five goals at home—four from Luis Suarez—against Norwich City.
Reigning title winners Manchester United can't seem to find their footing, dropping another disappointing game. They were held goalless at home against Everton, losing 1-0 and propelling into motion even more doubts about David Moyes at the helm as United fall to eighth place in the table.
Tottenham, however, were successful in helping to erase some of their early-season struggles. After falling behind in the second half, Spurs scored two goals in the final 20 minutes to beat Fulham on the road 2-1.
Surprises have been the norm in the EPL this season, and it appears that no team is safe, no matter what place their opponent is in or where the game is played.
Here's a look at the upcoming slate and picks for every match.
|Home Club||Away Club||Prediction|
|Saturday, Dec. 7|
|Manchester United||Newcastle||Manchester United, 1-0|
|Crystal Palace||Cardiff City||Draw|
|Liverpool||West Ham||Liverpool, 2-0|
|Southampton||Manchester City||Manchester City, 2-1|
|Stoke City||Chelsea||Chelsea, 3-1|
|West Brom||Norwich City||Draw|
|Sunderland||Tottenham Hotspur||Tottenham, 1-0|
|Sunday, Dec. 8|
|Fulham||Aston Villa||Aston Villa, 2-1|
|Monday, Dec. 9|
|Swansea City||Hull City||Draw|
Schedule courtesy ESPN FC
Arsenal vs. Everton
Arsene Wenger faces a precarious situation heading into Arsenal's match against Everton, albeit with tons of confidence.
He's seen his team score in bunches, while also locking it down on defense. They've given up just 10 goals all season while scoring at least three goals in five different matches thus far.
How does this relate to Everton? Roberto Martinez and company are second behind Arsenal, having given up just 13 goals on the season.
Playing at home, Wenger could go all out with an offensive attack but may swing and miss given Everton's stingy defense while allowing room on the counter-attack. Or, he could avoid aggressive tactics and hope his side can squeak out a goal or two while letting the emphasis remain on a clean sheet.
Arsenal have had success doing just about everything this season, so whichever method Wenger picks should work enough to guarantee three points.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, Everton 0
Manchester United vs. Newcastle
Manchester United entered the Premier League season with the enviable option of having Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney on the same roster. They may be without both this weekend.
Van Persie missed Wednesday's loss to Everton as he's struggling with a groin injury, and it's unclear if he'll suit up for the short turnaround. Rooney will be suspended for the Newcastle game after an excess of yellow cards resulting from his booking Wednesday.
Newcastle are at a favorable seventh place heading into Week 15 but are reeling off a 3-0 drubbing by Swansea on the road Wednesday.
Even without their two stars, United will be motivated as reality has to be sinking in at this point. The prospect of gaining a few places back in the table that they lost over the midweek will propel them to a much-needed three points at home.
Prediction: Manchester United 1, Newcastle 0
Southampton vs. Manchester City
Falling quickly back down to Earth is Southampton, who were one of a few surprise clubs to enjoy a share of the top four in the early stretches of the season. After a loss to Aston Villa during the week, things don't get much easier with a contest against Manchester City.
Speaking of losing, Manchester City have done a lot of it on the road but started to quell the notion that they're a different team at home on Wednesday. Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure gave City a 3-0 lead at West Brom and withstood two late goals to win 3-2 and stay in third place.
Losers of three straight, the Saints simply need to host an overmatched foe to notch a confidence-building win. Instead, the hottest offense in the Premier League is coming to town.
It won't be the typical four-to-five-goal drubbing that City have turned into their signature as of late, but they'll come away with a couple of goals to continue their winning streak.
Prediction: Manchester City 2, Southampton 1